We work as a group to understand film communication. Watching movies together, we share our observations, knowledge, and perceptions with women who have backgrounds and beliefs that are different from our own.
Although it is a sedentary and mostly silent activity, watching a movie has a way of drawing people together. From family movie nights to film clubs, people love to gather for the comfortable, relaxing, and sometimes intellectually stimulating activity of watching movies.
We think many people would enjoy and benefit from watching and discussing movies with others. Our exploration began 11 years ago when Pam Hassebroek invited a few women over to see a movie with her.
The idea she had in mind: that we can all learn more about what a film communicates if we share our observations. (That first evening the movie was The International, Tykwer, 2009. Who could resist a movie starring Clive Owen?).
The Benefit of Different Perspectives
Her idea was, and still is, to enlarge her knowledge, perceptions, and experience with the accumulated knowledge of women from a variety of experiential circumstances and belief systems.
Pam sought to bring different perspectives to discussions, based on her notion that people observe different aspects of a film based on their own lives. Thus, she chose to invite women from different backgrounds that would likely be compatible, interesting, and conversational, but not necessarily acquainted.
From the outset, Pam has not formally introduced members nor has she encouraged group members to present their backgrounds to the group in a formal way. Not that this has been openly stated nor restricted by any means, but she simply wants to inhibit bias from anyone who, consciously or otherwise, might be predisposed to either enhance or discredit opinions from women with certain types of life choices and experiences. A “women-only” group is another attempt to eliminate any restraint to open discussion that might exist with men in our audience.
Today, even more members eagerly anticipate the monthly gathering in The Movie Room, to watch and then discuss the carefully chosen movie of the month. We have now watched and discussed a variety of movies according to themes, e.g., international films, documentaries, comedies, movies on psychiatry and persuasion.
The evening always begins with a time to socialize with food and drink, along with the mandatory popcorn as the movie starts. Chips and delicious guacamole prepared by our “in-house chef” has become a signature movie snack. Following this time together in the bar, we move into The Movie Room so that the “work” of the evening can begin.
Broadening the Group’s Focus
Now our group has ventured beyond The Movie Room to expand our knowledge about motion pictures in different settings. For example, we have traveled together to see filming locations for AMC’s The Walking Dead, to attend film festivals in Crested Butte, CO and Atlanta, GA, and to attend the Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) conferences in Atlanta and Chicago.
The movie industry is flourishing in Georgia as well as in many new places around the world, so these are exciting times for movie fans and scholars to witness. We hope that you will continue to add to our discussions by the occasional comment or other communication.
Tykwer, T. (Director). (2009). The International [Motion picture]. USA | Germany | UK | France: Sony Pictures.